Warm weather and warm reception welcomes back AOP festival

It didn’t feel like fall, but that didn’t matter to the crowd that turned out for the first day of the Autumn on Parade festival on Saturday.

The popular two-day festival kicked off on Saturday after a year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I grew up in the Mt. Morris and Oregon area and I try and come back each year for Autumn on Parade,” said Fred Dunivan, of Paragold, Arkansas, as he visited the Focus House Car Show at Oregon Park East.

With temperatures in the mid 80s and high humidity the weather didn’t feel very fall-like, but that didn’t matter to the steady crowd who walked around the 150-plus booths located on the lawn of the old Ogle County Courthouse and surrounding streets.

Ornamental produce, locally produced honey, jewelry, soaps, candles, antiques, seasonal items and homemade pies are just a few of the hundreds of items that can be found throughout the show.

On Saturday, the festival’s petting zoo and bounce houses provided fun activities for kids in the Coliseum parking lot as Magic Matt delighted the crowd with his magic tricks.

Crafts and collectibles, a parade with marching bands and floats, strolling entertainers and lots of good treats to eat are just some of the staples of this year’s festival.

The theme for the popular two-day event is “Rockin’ 50 Years,” marking the festival’s 50th anniversary.

On Sunday, Autumn on Parade’s annual Harvest Time parade will march through the streets of Oregon starting at 1 p.m. This year’s paid entertainment acts include The Jesse White Tumblers and South Shore Chicago Drill Team. Local marching bands, clowns, queens and floats are also taking part in this year’s parade.

Other Sunday events include the Fun Zone for kids, a 5K and Fun Run, food booths, and the 60/40 raffle.

For more information, visit www.autumnonparade.org or call 815-732-3465.

Woods Equipment Co. is this year’s presenting sponsor.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen oversees production and content of 9 community weeklies and has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.